🏏England tour of India 2024: 2nd Test: At Dr. Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium, Visakhapatnam from 02 - 06 Feb 2024 at 9:30AM IST🏏
Can shell-shocked India even the odds vs Bazball?
India have been in this kind of position many times before and gotten themselves out of trouble, but England will be no pushovers
It's happened before, you know? It's even happened against England; the last time they were here, in fact.
It's happened before. India have gone 1-0 down at home, and India have bounced back. This is what India will be telling themselves: 'We've been here before. We trust ourselves to find our way out of this. We trust our methods.'
It's what they should tell themselves too. Change is a fact of life, a constant that India aren't blind to - note their efforts to embrace the sweep and all its variants in the lead-up to Visakhapatnam - but there's a reason why they've been so successful in their own conditions for such a long time: their methods work, and work exceedingly well, most of the time.
Hyderabad was one of those exceptions, rare and freakish. India have experienced something very much like it too - Dinesh Chandimal, an almost stroke-for-stroke precursor to Ollie Pope - and they came back to win that series as well.
India have been there, and India have done it. They will trust that they can do it again. And for all of the shockwaves they set off in Hyderabad, England will know coming to Visakhapatam that they will most likely need to keep doing freakish things to repeat that result. Having won the first Test with a frontline spin attack with the collective experience of 36 Tests, they now go into the second with one that's played a combined three Tests. Three. It's quite likely that Joe Root will once again bowl more overs than at least one of their theoretically main spinners.
For all that, though, have England had a better chance in India than this one since their triumphant 2012-13 tour? India were a team in transition in those late-Tendulkar days, and if they aren't already in another full-blown transition now, the number of absences they're dealing with has left them in a not-too-dissimilar situation.
They've already felt the effects of losing experienced batters. Bowlers win Test matches, it's true, but batters can lose them, in ways that aren't immediately apparent. India came away from Hyderabad with the impression that they lost that Test match on day two, when their batters, one after another, fell while attempting boundary hits. Eight of their top nine got past 20, and three of them got into the 80s, but none of them got to three figures. The aggression that cost them their wickets also brought them their runs, yes, but you could easily imagine Virat Kohli, in the same conditions and against the same attack, going at a not-dissimilar clip while hitting nothing in the air, and piling up what may have seemed to him a double-hundred for the taking.
In Visakhapatnam, India will miss not just Kohli but also KL Rahul and Ravindra Jadeja, two of their three most experienced batters from the first Test.
And the loss of Jadeja, needless to say, will leave them without half of one of the greatest spin-bowling duos in history. It's a massive blow, particularly since India are already without Mohammed Shami, whose absence in Hyderabad left them without a supreme wicket-taker in Indian conditions while also - given their seeming lack of faith in Mohammed Siraj - piling extra overs onto their spinners' shoulders.
It's a reflection of how good India are that Jadeja's likely replacement is Kuldeep Yadav, a bowler who'd probably be part of England's first-choice attack in every Test match, home and away, if they could magically change his nationality. Even so, as good as they are, India are not as good as they could be, and in this lies England's greatest chance.
India vs England Pitch Report
The initial impression of the surface is that it's a bit greenish, so pacers are expected to get some help. It could to be a rousing battle between the bat and ball, so it will be interesting to see how spinners fare.
India vs England Weather Report
The first two days of the game could have a bit of cloudy weather. No rain interruptions are expected. The temperature should hover around 30 degrees Celsius.
Pitch and conditions
On the eve of the match, Ben Stokes suggested the Visakhapatnam pitch might offer a little less turn initially than the one in Hyderabad did, before "footholes and stuff like that […] come into play the further the Test goes". The sun will bake down, though, so it may not take too much time for the pitch to begin showing wear.
Spinners will bowl the bulk of the overs, but don't be surprised if the quicks make an impact. Reverse swing came into the picture the last time England played here - Anderson, Stuart Broad and Stokes took 10 of the 20 Indian wickets that fell - and three years later Shami was India's fourth-innings destroyer against South Africa, taking 5 for 35 on a wearing pitch where the ball frequently kept low.
India vs England Head-to-Head
India and England have locked horns 132 times, with India bagging 31 wins while England secured 51 victories. In the last 17 Tests at home, Team India have registered eight wins and six defeats.
India vs England Match Prediction
A lot depends on the pitch laid out for the much-awaited encounter. Despite losing the first Test, Team India will start the contest as the strong favourites. Ravindra Jadeja and KL Rahul’s absence might hurt them, but the hosts are expected to win.
Prediction: India to win
In the spotlight
He averages 21.55, has taken three five-fors in just 14 innings, and was Player of the Match in his most recent Test match, but he's an Indian spinner in the time of R Ashwin and Jadeja. Kuldeep Yadav has missed 56 of India's 64 Tests since his debut in 2017, and he's waited patiently for opportunities like this one. Along the way he's made himself a more resilient bowler, quicker and harder to sit on the back foot against, while remaining just as deceptive in the air and off the pitch. In some ways he might be just the bowler India need against an England line-up prepared to sweep and reverse sweep everything in its path: a bit more dip, a bit more bounce, and the threat of the ball going in unexpected directions.
He sent down 48 overs in Hyderabad, the most he's ever bowled in a Test match, and there's every chance he'll have to go through a similar workload again. Can Joe Root cope with it? And what effect will it have on his batting?
Stats and trivia
The hosts have several ways to go about making up for the double blow of losing KL Rahul and Ravindra Jadeja. It is certain that at least one of Rajat Patidar or Sarfaraz Khan will debut in the middle-order. The team management did their best to keep the identity and the number of debutants under wraps with both contenders batting even in the optional net session the day before the game. Both players are good against spin but Patidar might seem to be ahead in the pecking order by virtue of being called up to the squad earlier, to replace Virat Kohli.
There is also a remote possibility of India picking both if they are worried about their batting enough to sacrifice a fifth bowler - Mohammed Siraj did afterall bowl only 11 of the 166.4 overs India did in the last Test. If they do go the England way and play only one seamer, they can also play one of Patidar/Sarfaraz and Washington Sundar, who will give Rohit five bowling options (four spinners) as well as a left-handed batter for any matchup play.
On evidence of net sessions, Kuldeep Yadav is set to come back into the Test XI for the first time since Chattogram 2022, where, incidentally, he claimed a five-fer.
Probable XI: Rohit Sharma (c), Yashasvi Jaiswal, Shubman Gill, Shreyas Iyer, Rajat Patidar, Axar Patel, KS Bharat (wk), Ravichandran Ashwin, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj/Washington Sundar
Jack Leach will miss the Test with a knee injury and tall off-spinner Shoaib Bashir, the visa issues behind him, will replace him in the XI. James Anderson was at his menacing best in the nets two days out from the game and has been picked as the sole seamer in the XI in place of Mark Wood.
Playing XI: Zak Crawley, Ben Duckett, Ollie Pope, Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes (c), Ben Foakes (wk), Rehan Ahmed, Tom Hartley, Shoaib Bashir, James Anderson
What they said:
"Could they have batted with more discipline? Maybe they could have. That's what they need to decide and come up with their plans. But, they need to score runs by playing their shots, as you need to back your strengths. Batting is always about scoring runs. It's not about not getting out but how many runs you put on the board." -Vikram Rathour on India's batting plans after a second-innings implosion in Hyderabad.
"Bringing Jimmy's experience, the class that he has, is great and I think it also goes under the radar how good his record in India is." - Ben Stokes is happy to welcome back one of the greats of the game, James Anderson, into his playing XI
When: India vs England, 2nd Test, February 2-6, 09:30 IST; 04:00 GMT
Where: Dr. YSR ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium, Visakhapatnam
What to expect: Spin, but not of the extreme kind. Last time when India went down to England in Chennai, they produced rank turners. But the absence of four all-time greats from the team might call for a more measured approach. This one is a black soil wicket with a smattering of dried grass to bind it. The two Tests played at this venue have been characterised by the slightly old-school, subcontinental slow burn progression before culminating in fifth-day jeopardy, which is how this one could also go unless the warmer temperatures aid faster disintegration.
Topic started by Savera84
Last replied by Savera84